Efforts to aid first responders take flight

Partners use test site at Griffiss International Airport to give new tools to public safety workers


The Northeast Unmanned Aerial System Airspace Integration Research Alliance, Inc., — perhaps better known as NUAIR — is using its Griffiss International Airport test site to help integrate and improve drone technology for public safety personnel and first responders.

NUAIR, along with its partner DRONERESPONDERS, is hoping to give emergency and rescue workers new tools and knowledge in their bid to protect and serve the public.

According to a NUAIR announcement on Monday, NUAIR provides organizations the tools and knowledge to integrate and conduct advanced drone operations, while DRONERESPONDERS focuses on aerial first responders and emergency managers, helping them learn, train and fly in emergency situations.

Their combined efforts aims to move New York and these agencies into a new age of technological advancement and economic efficiency. In New York, NUAIR has already helped more than 25 state, county and local agencies implement their drone programs.

The public safety realm continues to utilize drones for search and rescue, accident reconstruction, firefighting assistance and more.

“We have helped multiple public safety organizations implement their drone programs, providing us with unique insight into their specific needs,” said Ken Stewart, chief executive officer of NUAIR. “Our partnership with DRONERESPONDERS will lead to more public safety and state agency drone programs being implemented faster, leading to significant cost savings to the state and more efficient services to its residents.”

DRONERESPONDERS has over 3,800 members from across public safety disciplines, government organizations, non-profits, academia, and industry with participation from 48 countries. Their extensive online drone resource center provides members with training aids and videos, regulation updates, and other resources tailored specifically for the needs of public safety drone operations.

“NUAIR is the perfect partner for organizations looking to explore and test new drone technologies that can be integrated into public safety and state agency operations,” said Chief Charles Werner (retired), director and founder of DRONERESPONDERS Public Safety Alliance. “Organizations quickly see enhanced safety and operational effectiveness, real time situational awareness, and other efficiencies after integrating drones into their daily operations.”

In addition to public safety organizations utilizing drones, multiple Department of Transportation and other infrastructure agencies are benefiting from the significant cost savings drones provide. These organizations are using drones for costly, routine maintenance of infrastructure including bridges, roads, stockpiles and more. States are realizing not only do drones help decrease operational costs, but they also have a positive economic impact on the region.

Shutting down lanes of traffic for hours for a bridge inspection is time-consuming and can cost the local economy tens-of-thousands of dollars due to the traffic delays. That same inspection could be done with a drone more quickly, remove the need to redirect traffic, and increase the overall safety to motorists and inspectors.


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